Stansted Airport's no-fly zone for drones extended from 1km to 5km
An extended ‘no fly zone’ for drones has been imposed as Essex Police ramps up its aerial defences.
From today (Wednesday, March 13), the restriction on flying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) around any airport or airfield runway in the UK will be extended from 1km to 5km, meaning that no drones or model aircraft can be flown within this area.
However, working alongside Stansted Airport operator Manchester Airports Group (MAG) and the National Air Traffic Service (NATS), the Essex force has been given unique permission to fly its own drones within the prohibited area in order to fight crime.
A team of officers have received specialist training to operate the constabulary's drones in the zone. This will include regular aerial patrols to detect criminal damage, car theft and suspicious behaviour.
Airport Commander Supt Richard Phillibrown said: "As technology evolves, so do the methods criminals use to commit crime.
“We are all aware of the disruption caused at Gatwick Airport towards the end of last year after a drone was reported to have been seen near to the runway.
"Whilst this new initiative has been in planning for a while and has not come about as a direct result of the Gatwick incident, we recognise this issue may affect the day-to-day running of Stansted Airport and the safety of travelling passengers.
"We have been using drones across the force to detect, disrupt and investigate crime for the past two years and our plans to utilise the technology at Stansted Airport have been developed over the past 18 months.
"Thanks to the special permissions given to us by National Air Traffic Service (NATS), we are able to make use of drone technology to monitor the airport and the surrounding area, investigate suspicious behaviour and quickly respond to any concerns raised either to our officers or airport staff.
"This will not only assist in preventing and detecting crime, but also minimise potential disruption to passengers using the airport and provide an additional tool to policing the airport and preventing terrorism.
"We ask that the local community make themselves aware of the new no-fly zone parameters, as anyone found to be in breach of this may be prosecuted.”
For more information about UAV laws and regulations, see the Essex Police website or www.dronesafe.uk